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Great news–my essay won Linda Durham gallery’s essay contest. My essay is titled, “We do art to be human” (click on the title to go to the essay).

The topic for the contest was, “The importance of art in this challenging political and economic world.” My essay is built around ideas I’ve been thinking about for a long time–the topic couldn’t have been better chosen for me.

The gallery got several hundred submissions from around the U.S. as well as New Mexico. The essays were judged by a professional panel of judges: Timothy Rodgers, Chief Curator at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe; Jon Carver, a Santa Fe art-writer and art educator; and Aline Brandauer Sloan, art-writer and curator.

And there was actually a $500 prize that I didn’t know about until I was told I’d won the contest; the contest notice I saw didn’t say anything about a monetary prize. As it happened, I’d ordered a big new easel, with a winch, a couple of days before I learned I’d won the prize, so the money comes in very handy.

The last time I won a prize for my writing was in college, for a paper on the economics of cable TV regulation. This piece was a lot more fun to write!

Salon Mar Graff, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will be showing some of my new, multi-panel oil paintings in an exhibit that begins Thursday, April 23, 2009. I’m very excited about this show because it will be the first time my latest work will be exhibited anywhere.

The openings are on Thursday, April 23, and Friday, April 24, from 5-8 p.m. The Salon is also having a gourmet supper (amidst the art) on Saturday, April 25, at 7 p.m.; the price for the supper is $30 and RSVP is required. After the first weekend, the show is open by appointment. For more details: www.salonmargraff.com

The show is called “Terra-Hedron,” and the other artists in this show are Matthew Chase-Daniel, Samayra Sinclaire, Diane Tintor, and Jim Klukkert.  

salon-mar-graff-invitation

My new works are multi-panel series consisting of not quite identical repeats of the same strongly-colored geometric compositions. I was inspired by an encounter with minimalist artist Donald Judd’s 100 nearly identical aluminum boxes, which I saw on a trip to Marfa, Texas, last spring. (I haven’t reached 100 yet, though the Orange Arc series has 25 panels and the Blue Gate series has 14 panels, each 14 x 11 in.)

But my work is far too colorful and inexact to be orthodox minimalism: I sometimes think of it as “handmade minimalism,” or “lyrical minimalism,” or even “minimalist expressionism.” Please come to the Salon Mar Graff show and tell me what you think!

(The header image for this blog shows part of the Orange Arc series. An installation view of part of both series is shown below.) Info on Salon Mar Graff:  25 Big Tesuque Canyon, Santa Fe, NM; 505.955.0471 (John MarGraff). Directions: From Paseo de Peralta, take Bishop’s Lodge Road. One mile past the Bishop’s Lodge Resort, make a right onto Big Tesuque Canyon. At #25, turn left up the long dirt driveway to the Salon.

When people think of fine art printmaking, they usually think of a printing press. But monotypes are prints that don’t require a press–all my monotypes that you have seen in gallery shows were done using just my hands, rollers, and other hand tools to transfer images to paper.

This Saturday, April 18, I am giving a demonstration in making monotypes without a press at the Community Gallery in the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, on Marcy St. at the corner of Sheridan. The demonstration will be from noon to 4 p.m. There is no charge for attending.

I will be showing techniques that both artists and non-artists can use to create small prints, in the studio or at home. Depending on the number of people who attend, you might even be able to try out some techniques yourself.

The Community Gallery is currently showing large monotypes drawn from the archives of the Monothon, an event that was held for years at the College of Santa Fe, where many fine artists got together to made monotypes. Unfortunately, the Monothon is no longer being held, but you can see excellent examples of the work done by Santa Fe area artists over many years. Sales from this exhibit benefit both the College of Santa Fe (which certainly needs any money they can get) and the Community Gallery, which is run by the city’s Arts Commission.

So come on by!